10 March 2016
Thursday, 4th Week of Lent
Ex 32:7 – 14 / Jn 5:31 – 47
First Reading: Ex 32:7 – 12, 14
Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made themselves a molten calf; they have bowed down before it and sacrificed to it . . . "
And Yahweh said to Moses, "I see that these people are a stiff-necked people. Now just leave me that my angel may blaze against them. I will destroy them, but of you I will make a great nation."
But Moses calmed the anger of Yahweh, his God, and said, "Why, O Yahweh, should your anger burst against your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say: 'Yahweh brought them out with evil intent, for he wanted to kill them in the mountains and wipe them from the face of the earth.' Turn away from the heat of your anger and do not bring disaster on your people. . . . "
Yahweh then changed his mind and would not harm his people.
The musical Fiddler on the Roof begins with the song "Tradition," sung by Tevye. The tradition of a matchmaker's role in families is immediately put to test. Tzeitel, the eldest daughter, begs her father Tevye not to agree to the matchmaker's choice for her, an old but wealthy butcher. She confesses she loves Motel, her childhood friend. Tzeitel's candidness and honesty move Tevye who reluctantly finds a way to break the match for his daughter,
Chava, the middle daughter, befriends the Russian Fyedka and a relationship flourishes in secret. Meanwhile, Hodel, the other daughter, falls in love with Perchik, a young revolutionary. Both Chava and Hodel go to their father Tevye, not to ask permission to get married, but to receive his blessing!
Tevye, in shock, discovers the meaning of true love and relents. Chava begs her father to marry the Russian (and Christian) Fyedka. A line is crossed: her Jewish daughter to marry a non-Jew? Tevye forbids Chava to see Fyedka again. For love Chava elopes with Fyedka.
Because of persecution of the Jewish people, Tevye and family have to leave their hometown. Chava and non-Jewish Fyedka inform Tevye they too are leaving. Tevye refuses to even speak with his daughter Chava but somehow whispers a loving "God be with you" to his beloved daughter.
The Jewish traditions of Tevye's life and family are in tatters. Genuine love in the family triumphs over traditions.
The musical Fiddler on the Roof may help us understand why God changed his mind when Moses interceded for sinful Israel.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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